Tuesday, October 7, 2014

ARC Review: Beau, Lee, the Bomb, & Me

Title: Beau, Lee, the Bomb, & Me

Author: Mary McKinley

Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQ, Contemporary

Publication Date: October 28th, 2014

Publisher: Kensington Books

When Beau transferred to our school. I thought: "Good; fresh meat." Because I knew he would be tormented the entire time he was at Baboon High. Like I am. All day. . . every day.

Growing up is a trip. . .

In high school, there are few worse crimes than being smart or fat. Lucky me, I'm both. But when Beau Gales blows in to town, it takes about two minutes for the jackasses at our Seattle school to figure out he's gay, and that makes him an even bigger target. Have you ever heard the saying: 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend'? There's something to that.

When the bullying gets violent and Beau decides to run away to San Francisco to ask his Uncle Frankie for advice, we all go. Beau, me, Leonie (designated class slut), and a scruffy rescue dog called The Bomb--a tribe of misfits crammed into my mom's minivan. Throw in a detour to the
Twilight town of Forks, armed robbery, cool record shops, confessions, breakups and makeups, and you have the kind of journey that can change the way you look at the whole world--and yourself.

My Review:

When I first saw the synopsis of Beau, Lee, the Bomb, & Me, I was pleasantly surprised. I've often enjoyed reading books that deal with topics like bullying because it's something that I'm able to relate to, even now that I'm in my twenties. I really thought that the other advance readers were being harsh about this book, but they were right, and I was very wrong.

Unfortunately, the intriguing synopsis is the best thing about this book.

For the first few pages of the book, I was utterly confused. I could not get a picture of the narrator in my head. If I can't picture the storyteller, I can't get behind the book. I honestly thought that the narrator was a boy. Nope! I was wrong. The narrator is actually a female teenager named Rylee/Rusty. It takes a while for McKinley to even provide readers with the name of her narrator, so I was even more annoyed with this book by the time I found out her name.

I was also very bothered by the lack of organization in this book. First of all, there aren't any chapters or sections. It's like it's one long thought that just goes on like the Energizer Bunny. Trust me. You don't want it to go on. During my reading, I only came across one real break in the text while I was reading. It was so tiring just to find a place to stop for the night.

The writing is also terrible. Almost every sentence is poorly constructed, and it really does seem like McKinley tried too hard to be able to relate to teens with her use of shorthand and Internet speak. I started to keep track of how many times the word "till" was used in place of "until" but I quickly stopped keeping track. I know that it might seem insignificant, but it's really bothersome to read so many times in a row.

I was also bothered by the use of tense in the book. One minute, the book is being told in the past tense, and then then McKinley changes to the present tense. Just when you're getting used to the change in tense, she changes it again! I just can't read something like that! Any English teacher will tell you that when you're writing, especially a piece of fiction, it should remain in the same tense.

The characters aren't bad, but they aren't the most spectacular YA characters you'll come across in a book. Beau, Lee, the Bomb, & Me deals with a group of three teenage misfits that band together to face the bullies of their high school. All three of them have a slew of problems that they face. To be honest, it's overwhelming. I felt like all of their problems were just too much to deal with as a reader, and that the author just included every horrible thing that she could find into this story.

I really hope that this book has gone through the editing process a bit more since the ARC was sent to readers because it really needs to be refined. It has potential to be a really great book, but at this point, there are just way too many flaws for me to even consider it a mediocre novel. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


  1. What in the world is horrible about this review? Even with this being a DNF you really found a way to be informative ! I also like books that cover the topic of bullying, but I hate when It's thrown in your face, or the author includes these outrageous scenarios or situations. It always comes across as unnatural. Good review Erin!

  2. I thought it was coming across as unorganized as the book. That's what I was mostly worried about. lol

    Books about bullying seriously have the power to change the world, but they have to be done right or else it just seems like it's a lecture.

    Thanks, Tika! I was so unsure about this one. :)

    1. You sound like me before I post. I worry so much about the length, the tone, everything lol. We're so hard on ourselves apparently. & you're welcome! Your reviews are always good. :D

    2. This is the first time, in a long time, that I doubted myself on a review. It's funny because the last time I doubted myself was because of a one star review too. Maybe I just feel guilty when I don't like books. lol

      And thank you! That makes me smile, knowing that you think they're great! :) Yours are pretty stellar too!

  3. Terrific review, you did a great job of fairly explaining what didn't work for you in this book (:
    (I mentioned this on the All About YA group as well, but) I was really disappointed to hear that you didn't like this book. I first heard of it on your blog and like you, I was interested by the synopsis! The characters sounded real and fresh, the story seemed to have potential. I guess I won't be picking this book up, though, as it doesn't sound so appealing anymore :/

    1. Thank you, Connie! :)

      I saw that you commented on it over at All About YA. I sent a reply there too.

      I still think that the book has potential, but it's no where near ready to be published in the state in which I read it. It's sad, too, because it really did interest me.

  4. Damn, too bad it wasn't any better. Sounds like it could've definitely used a better editor! Hopefully your next read will be better!

    Brittany @ http://www.spacebetweenthespines.com

    1. It did need a better editor. I was sitting there while reading and thinking of all the ways that I could have edited it. lol

  5. Ehhh this definitely doesn't sound like a good book at all! Which is quite a shame. Thanks for letting me know to dodge around this one!

    1. It really is a shame because it had so much going for it just from the synopsis. And you're welcome! I review any ARCs that I get for that reason - to make sure that people can make a better informed decision on reading them. :)


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